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Emeraude Classic Cruise
Stepping onto the Emeraude is as transporting as time travel. And the vessel's history is as captivating as a fine old yarn.
In 1999, a young French entrepreneur Eric Merlin was rummaging in the St. Ouen flea market in Paris, looking - as was his habit - for anything old with links to Vietnam and Indochina. On this day, he found three postcards, dated 1916, 1917 and 1919. Two pictured paddle steamers in Halong Bay. A third showed a steamer at port in nearby Haiphong. A magnifying glass revealed the name of one of the vessels, the "Emeraude"....
While the boat took shape in a shipyard, Eric began a quest for more information. The search spanned continents and featured a number of false trails. Briefly, he believed the boats had sailed between England and France as mail boats, a theory promoted by information on an Australian stamp club website. The British Maritime Museum dispelled that story. Meanwhile counterparts in Paris came up with another picture that matched his paddle steamer postcards, and Eric pressed on. When he learned that many of Indochina's historical documents ended up in an archive in Aix en Provence in the South of France, he hired a school teacher to carry on the search.....
The Roque Brothers
Paul Roque, who launched the Emeraude, was the second generation of his family in Indochina. Initially, there had been three adventuring brothers - Victor, Xavier and Henry - who embarked from Bordeaux in 1858. After a stop in Manila, they moved onto Hong Kong where they established themselves as suppliers to the French Army. When the troops of Admiral Rigault de Genouilly took Saigon, they followed in 1860. Against this historic backdrop their empire grew. Sugar, opium, timber, public works, steamships. The list was long.........
Eric's Emeraude was built locally in Haiphong to international standards but very much in keeping with the original design. In December 2003, the namesake of the glorious old vessel set sail. While the original was split between cargo and cruisers the new Emeraude is exclusively a leisure vessel. The paddle wheel at the back echoes the design of the original but isn't used for propulsion. Instead it opens up to provide a swimming deck for passengers. Inside there are many photos of the original steamers that Eric has continued to find and now shares with passengers........
Launched: December 2003
Built by: Song Cam Shipyard
Cabins: 34 Luxury Cabins
+ 01 Paul Roque Suite
+ 01 Emeraude Suite
+ 01 Captain's Suite
Engine: 2*540HP (Caterpillar)
Tonnage: 700 tones
Cruising Speed: 10 nautical knots
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